"Danny Curnow, known in the army family by his call sign, Vagabond, ran agents, informers. Played God with their lives and their deaths, and was the best at his job - and he quit when the stress overwhelmed him...

...Now he lives in quiet isolation and works as a guide to tourists visiting the monuments and cemeteries of an earlier, simpler, conflict on Normandy's D-Day beaches.

Until the call comes from an old boss, Bentinick."

Gerald Seymour Vagabond

(Hodder & Stoughton, £13.99; ebook, £7.99)

Gerald Seymour has been publishing exciting but essentially serious-minded books set in the world’s trouble spots since 1975, when Harry’s Game became both a best-seller and a hit TV series. In Vagabond, he returns to Northern Ireland, where the peace process hasn’t been to everybody’s taste—which is why Danny Curnow, a British officer during the Troubles, is called out of retirement to track an arms deal in Eastern Europe by unreconstructed members of the IRA… 

In many ways, Danny is an old-school troubled hero in an old-school novel, but in neither case is that meant remotely as a criticism. Effortlessly shifting between different points of view, Seymour gives all of his characters real depth—as well as an unmistakeable tug of sadness at how the world has changed. His sense of place is as powerful as ever—and he still refuses to simplify the moral dilemmas involved. None of this, though, is ever done at the expense of the tension, which builds in the classic way to a properly thrilling climax.

Read more articles by James Walton here

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